Seward Alaska is a unique small town and the gateway to the Kenai Fjords. Most visitors would spend at least one to two days here on their very first trip to Alaska. Whether you plan to stop here before (or after) stepping off your cruise ship, or you’re planning to drive from Alaska Railroad to Seward, this small community has a lot to offer. Here are some of the best things to do in Seward Alaska and its surroundings!
1. Check out Kenai Fjords National Park
Of all the things to do in Seward Alaska, the undeniable number one is visiting Kenai Fjords National Park. Like many Alaskan national parks, Kenai Fjords is only accessible by boat and thus is not the most accessible. But because it is easy to get to Seward and about half of all Alaska cruises dock here, Kenai Fjords is easier to access than some others. Stunning glaciers, calving ice and a whole array of wildlife are just some of the highlights. There are many cruises that will take you to see these breathtaking sights. No matter who you choose to travel with, Kenai Fjords will really leave an unforgettable memory in your mind.
2. Explore Exit Glacier
Exit Glacier is one of the best places to witness the beauty of the glaciers. It’s also accessible by car, making it one of the most convenient glaciers to reach in Alaska. Enjoy a rare opportunity to get up close with an active glacier, one that is fast receding due to climate change. The trails that reach from the visitor center to the glacier are well-maintained, featuring a vivid journey into natural history. You may even spot some mountain goats and hear the sound of the glacier creaking and crackling.
3. Visit Fox Island in Resurrection Bay
Sitting out in Resurrection Bay, Fox Island is a scenic point many cruise companies pass while sailing around Kenai Fjords. But you can actually step off the boat, stroll the beach and explore on land. There are also other ways to explore Fox Island, such as a morning kayak with lunch or an afternoon kayak with dinner. After your meal, stretch your legs on a walk along the flat-rock beach of Halibut Cove. Look for heart-shaped rocks or try your hand at skipping stones. Or simply sit and enjoy the perfect peace and silence of this place.
4. Hike to Harding Icefield
If you love the sweet torture that is hiking, then hiking to Harding Icefield will be one of your top things to do in Seward Alaska. At nine miles (14.5km)2 round trip with over 3,500 feet (1km) of elevation gain, this hike will give you quads of steel. The trail will take you from wildflower meadows to above the treeline, then to rocky outcroppings with mountains and glaciers all around you, until you finally get to the end of Harding Icefield. The hike typically takes anywhere from six to eight hours, so make sure to prepare adequately with water, food, good hiking boots and poles.
5. Visit Alaska SeaLife Center
The Alaska Sealife Center is a must-visit in downtown Seward. Other than an aquarium, the Sealife Center is also a wildlife rescue that cares for and nurses injured, sick or orphaned marine animals back to full health. Dedicated to conservation, they educate visitors and provide research to protect the precious wildlife of Alaska. If you have young ones, they’re sure to love the sights of otters, seals, sea lions, puffins and more.
6. Discover Downtown Seward
Seward may be a small town, but its culinary scene is surprisingly robust. Over the years, chefs from other parts of the state have set up their own restaurants here, raising the bar and making for some mouthwatering options during your trip. Check out the series of 12 giant murals painted by Local artists, which depict local scenes and historical events. And on 4th Avenue, you’ll find the Train Wreck, a collection of refurbished railcars from the Alaska Railroad. As you can tell, Downtown Seward has a host of colourful things to do and is most definitely worth your time.